The Definitive Holiday Movie Playlist

venture christmas krampus

Over the last five or so years, I’ve slowly been figuring out more and more what I want each Christmas to be like. Caitlin and I haven’t been able to travel home for the last couple of years — what with getting married and all this year (eventually I mean to talk about that here) — so after all the phone and Skype calls are made, there’s not a whole lot else to do.

So it becomes movie time.

Generally, I can’t stand Christmas movies. Even the best of them descend into sappiness in the end, and the real trouble is that it’s all the exact same sappiness. You can basically flip on any Christmas movie for five minutes, assess where you are in the story, and fill in the blanks from there. The key differences are generally whether you’re watching Bill Murray, Jimmy Stewart, Arnold Schwarzenegger, or something made of clay. (Side note: Wait, are there really no Christmas movies with women leads, or am I just blanking on them?)

I try to skip Rudolph, Charlie Brown and anything that involves Santa. That might sound like the makings of Regular Movie Christmas, but there are a few titles that deserve recognition for their ultimate undefinable Christmasiness, while also side-stepping the awful. Here now is the watch list I’ve been cultivating for several years. It’s ever-evolving, but so far, this is the definitive iteration.

Read more

Happiness derived of metal and plastic

cd cover I’ve been holding off writing a post about the most important aspect of my life, because I didn’t want to come off as sappy and ridiculous. In addition, who would want to read about it, I reasoned.

Alas, no longer can I refrain from pouring my heart out all over the Internet. I am absolutely, deeply, hopelessly, endlessly, ridiculously in love with Caitlin M. Foyt.

For Christmas, Caitlin got me the greatest, most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received. You can read a more in-depth description on her blog, but suffice to say, she took the mix tape idea I utilized for her birthday and as is her way, did it 100 times better than I did.

Caitlin’s extremely involved 23-track mix CD, “Songs I Never Related To Before I Met You,” is an intense and satisfying love letter. You know a person is special when she has the ability to recast multiple songs you’ve grown to hate over the years and make them relevant and fun to hear. “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer is a crap song – except in the context of Caitlin’s album, where it’s not only perfect, but enjoyable. Who knew.

And she put a Meat Loaf track on there (“I Would Do Anything For Love,” which I love to belt) despite her dislike for Mr. Loaf.

That’s not to discount the case and booklet she made me with her patented collage technique with love letter liner notes. The undertaking was massive, the quality shows, and it’s impossible for me to overstate how great it makes me feel.

Part Two of the gift: engraved Zippo lighter. I’ve always wanted one and her message on it is a constant reminder that my life is amazing.

I’m a lucky guy.

Meanwhile, Caitlin often turns to me and asks, “Why do you like me?” As if there’s a way to answer that with any kind of brevity or precision.

Why do I like her? Because she’s the most incredible person I’ve ever met; because she’s beautiful, smart, funny, interesting, and incredibly talented; because she’s the kind of person who puts together a mix CD complete with its own unique and amazing packaging.

I can’t help but laugh at the irony of it. The most beautiful and interesting woman I’ve ever known – the woman of my dreams, the woman I’ve wished I could be with since the first day we met – wonders why I like her.

It’s especially weird because I’ve always perceived a difference in league here. I’m not someone who’s got a ton of self-esteem and confidence when it comes matters of women as it is, and to be honest, I never really thought I had a shot with Caitlin.

Even more strange are the occasional discussions we have about how close we both came to confessing how we felt about each other more than a year ago. It’s funny to think about how different my life would be if I’d chosen a different path (read: grown a spine) two years ago before I left Michigan for six months in Chicago.

Thinking about how my life could have been different just highlights how good it is now. Receiving Caitlin’s deeply personal Christmas gift is almost as good as getting her something that she’ll love just as much. And more than anything, I love being in a relationship in which giving and creating gifts – one of my all-time most hated endeavors because I endlessly agonize over finding and obtaining worthwhile gifts in (almost) all cases – is something that I now actually have a great time doing. And I love being reminded that I love it. And I love that my life’s become something in which I find thinking and writing about stuff like this fun and interesting enough to do it.